MSI MEG Trident X review

MSI MEG Trident X review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

 In the world of gaming PCs, the MSI MEG Trident X is a perfect example of “you get what you pay for.”. The Trident X delivers from a design and performance perspective: a striking, compact chassis with hardware that is powerful enough to run the latest and greatest titles in stunning 4K resolution. You will have to pay for the privilege: between $2,300 and $3,300, to be precise.

The Trident X makes a strong case for itself if you intend to spend upwards of $2,000 or $3,000 on a gaming machine. Both gaming and everyday productivity tasks run smoothly. In addition, the machine runs quietly and is easy to upgrade.

MSI’s proprietary software doesn’t add much to the overall experience, and the mouse and keyboard included with the Trident X are pretty weak. As long as you can stomach the asking price, the Trident X is one of the best gaming PCs you can buy, not to mention one of the prettiest.

MSI MEG TRIDENT X: SPECS

Processor: Up to Intel Core i9-10900K, 3.7-5.3 GHz

RAM: Up to 64 GB

Graphics Card: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

Storage: Up to 1 TB SSD + 1 TB HDD

Accessories: MSI Clutch GM11 Mouse, MSI Vigor GK30 Keyboard

MSI MEG Trident X review: Design

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Gaming PCs are generally built for function rather than aesthetics. A “big black box with a few blue highlights” is usually the best you can get. MSI’s MEG Trident X, on the other hand, is a striking, beautiful machine that features tasteful angles and vibrant lighting. In addition, the Trident X is a small machine, measuring 15.6 x 15.1 x 5.1 inches and weighing 14.4 pounds.

Although it is a rectangular box, the Trident X has some unexpected angles on the front, top, and sides, which makes it look a little like a modern piece of art. A triangular LED appears on the front.

An RGB fan is visible in the vent on the left. There is a switchable panel on the right, depending on whether you prefer opaque plastic or clear glass. (Be careful not to drop the glass.)

Trident X is a very pretty machine, so it’s a shame I had to place it on my floor.

MSI MEG Trident X review: Ports and upgradability

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There are plenty of ports on the MSI MEG Trident X. On the front, you’ll find a USB-C port, two USB-A ports, and two 3.5 mm audio jacks: one for microphones, one for speakers. There are five USB-A ports, one Thunderbolt USB-C port, five audio ports, one optical audio port, three DisplayPorts, one HDMI port, and an Ethernet port on the back.

Although I wish there were more ports on the front and less on the back, the overall number is generous, and all the important ones are included.

My only complaint is that, depending on your setup, a USB-C dongle can block access to one of the USB-A ports if you plug it into the front.

All you need to do is remove a side panel and disconnect a few screws to upgrade the machine. The interior is clean and spacious, although many components need a small screwdriver to be removed. As soon as you start installing your own components, good luck getting the wiring to look as nice as MSI’s.

MSI MEG Trident X review: Gaming performance

I was not surprised that the MSI MEG Trident X is capable of running demanding games at a steady pace since the system features a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the system was able to do so in such an unobtrusive manner. Whatever the methods MSI used to rig the cooling system, the Trident X is nearly silent for productivity purposes and is relatively quiet for all but the most demanding games.

Trident X performs well in terms of performance. With a 1080p monitor, the system effortlessly hovered between 100 and 144 frames per second for every game I tried, even when the graphics were as high as they would go. The graphics and performance were all excellent no matter what I was playing, whether it was gunning down enemies in Doom Eternal, building armies in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, or building decks in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales.

My qualitative experience was backed up by our benchmarks. On 1080p monitors with graphics settings turned all the way up, the Trident X ran Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at 85 frames per second, Borderlands 3 at 110 fps, Grand Theft Auto V at 134 fps, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 120 fps.

We haven’t yet reviewed a machine that’s directly comparable to the Trident X yet, but compare and contrast with last year’s Alienware Aurora R10 (which also featured an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU), which scored 88 fps for Far Cry New Dawn and 80 fps for Red Dead Redemption 2, compared to the Trident X’s 109 fps and 85 fps, respectively. It takes just one year for hardware improvements to make a difference.

1080p games are only one part of the equation. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey earned 52 frames per second in 4K with similarly demanding graphical settings, Borderlands 3 earned 43 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V earned 45 frames per second, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider earned 44 frames per second. While none of these numbers quite achieve the 4K/60 fps gold standard, you should be able to achieve that metric by compromising on textures, draw distance, and similar settings.

In the 4K category, Trident X had mixed results against the Aurora R10. Aurora R10 achieved 71 fps on Far Cry: New Dawn and 41 fps on Red Dead Redemption 2, while Trident X achieved 77 fps and 30 fps, respectively.

In terms of its quality and performance, the Trident X is a powerful machine that can run demanding games smoothly, even in high settings. The system isn’t the most powerful on the market, but it’s capable of handling any game you throw its way.

MSI MEG Trident X review: Overall performance

Unlike most gaming systems, the MSI MEG Trident X isn’t fazed by everyday activities such as Internet browsing and media streaming. I was still unable to get the system to use more than 10% of its CPU and 15% of its RAM unless I was running a video game simultaneously with MS Word, Slack, MSI Dragon Center, Spotify, and dozens of other background processes. Videos and TV shows streamed smoothly; music played without a problem. In the two weeks, I used the Trident X as my primary work system, I never missed an important assignment or high-res Livestream.

Trident X’s copy rate on a thumb drive was 1,275 MBps, and it copied 5 GB of files in 4.0 seconds. As a result, the Aurora R10 took 5.4 seconds or 920 MBps. Even though transfer speed isn’t the be-all, end-all of productivity tasks, it’s a good indicator of how well the system performs, and 5 GB in 4 seconds is pretty speedy.

In a few synthetic benchmarks, such as Geekbench 4.3 (40,378 for Trident X, 52,626 for Aurora R10), the Aurora R10 outperforms the Trident X as well. Trident X received a score of 10,490 on Geekbench 5.2, but we don’t have any systems against which to compare it yet.

MSI MEG Trident X review: Software

There are only a few extra MSI programs and Norton security suite installed on the MSI MEG Trident X. MSI Dragon Center is a decent program to control and monitor Trident X’s lighting and performance. The program’s Dragon Center also lets you switch between profiles optimized for various tasks, like “Extreme Performance,” “Silent,” and “Creator Mode.” It’s okay, though you could disable it completely and not miss much.

I’m most irritated by Norton. It puts an incredible layer of security between you and every page or file you view online, making something as simple as downloading a file you uploaded yourself into a mess of notifications. The software can’t even be turned off if it becomes obnoxious; you need to uninstall it completely. It is incredibly difficult to use, especially since you do not even get a full version of the program, just a trial that nags about signing up constantly. Remove it and instead use the built-in Windows Defender, which has gotten better and better over the years.

MSI MEG Trident X review: Peripherals

No matter what version of the MSI MEG Trident X you buy, it will include the MSI Clutch GM11 Mouse and the MSI Vigor GK30 Keyboard. In summary, the mouse is fine, but the keyboard isn’t.

Although the Clutch GM11 is technically a gaming mouse, it lacks many of the features that make gaming mice so desirable. A button controls the DPI sensitivity, as well as RGB lighting in the MSI logo on the palm rest and on an LED strip on the bottom of the mouse. The Dragon Center software can also be used to reprogramme its buttons. However, this is all. There are no textured grips, tunable weights, swappable panels, wireless capabilities, or software profiles. The best it can do is get the job done; at worst, it’s a temporary solution until you can get something better.

However, the Vigor GK30 is one of the more unpleasant gaming keyboards I’ve used recently. This keyboard clearly aims to be a premium mechanical gaming keyboard, but it takes every shortcut in the process. A neat trick performed by the no-name, linear key switches is that they are both extremely mushy and extremely loud. The keyboard actually kept my partner awake from across the entire apartment behind a closed door, which is new to her.

Instead of per-key lighting, you get a handful of dull LED zones. The GK30 cannot be programmed like the GM11, and unlike the GM11, you cannot alter the GK30 via software, so you have to rely on cumbersome, limiting keyboard shortcuts in order to change the colors and brightness. Media controls are not discrete, and there is no wrist rest.

If you do not intend to invest in the Trident X, you can make do with the GM11 mouse. Spend another $150 or so on one of the best gaming keyboards. It will be worth it.

Pros Cons
Easy to take apart Subpar peripherals
Smart, compact design Expensive
Powerful performance
Quiet cooling

MSI MEG Trident X review: Verdict

In our MSI MEG Trident X review, this machine gets a solid recommendation due to its cool appearance and powerful performance. Despite the Trident X not being the absolute best 4K gaming system, it is far from the most expensive.

Nevertheless, it’s not cheap, and $3,200 is still a lot of money for a computer. It offers a much wider range of price options, as well as an equally striking (though very different) chassis. With the Trident X, you’ll be able to run your favorite games at extremely high settings, and you’ll likely be able to do so for years to come.